Business

Tech Groups to Presidential Candidates: Support TPP

A coalition of tech companies and industry groups are calling on the presidential candidates to back the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership, as part of a broader call for tech-friendly policies. The remaining candidates have each spoken out against TPP.

A coalition of tech companies and industry groups are calling on the presidential candidates to back the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership, as part of a broader call for tech-friendly policies. The remaining candidates have each spoken out against TPP.

Trade is one of the key issues in this year’s presidential election.

But the three remaining candidates—Republican Donald Trump and Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders—have generally stood opposed to one of the highest-profile agreements around trade, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The technology space is hoping to change some minds. Last week, 13 industry groups signed onto an open letter [PDF] encouraging the candidates to take stances that were friendly to the technology industry, including public sector innovation, stronger cybersecurity, and a balance on intellectual property standards.

High on the list? A policy that favors authorizing the TPP, which still faces Congressional scrutiny, as part of “an active trade agenda.” TPP has generally been supported by major technology groups, although some took months to formally support the agreement after it was finalized last year. The open letter appears to solidify the support of the agreement across a wide swath of the technology sector—as the groups represent technology giants such as Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Uber, and many others.

The letter also highlighted another key point of interest for the technology sector—immigration reform for highly skilled foreign workers, something Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg in particular has advocated for. The groups have called for the next president to “improve the ability of companies operating in the United States to recruit and retain highly educated foreign graduates and professionals to meet hiring needs and supplement our talented U.S. workforce.”

Ultimately, the organizations hope to make clear to the presidential candidates that their policies, or lack thereof, could have a significant impact on the future of innovation.

“Our nation’s technological strength is the product of investment of human resources, ingenuity, and capital in advancing progress for all,” the letter stated. “As representatives of America’s most innovative sector, we believe firmly that our greatest breakthroughs lie ahead. We respectfully propose the following policy recommendations, and offer our time, energy, and creativity in support of America’s future.”

Among the 13 groups represented by their leaders on the open letter are the Computer and Communications Industry Association, the Internet Association, the Software & Information Industry Association, the Information Technology Industry Council, and CompTIA.

Donald Trump has been a notable TPP critic during his presidential run. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!


Comments